How to Get the Perfect Shut-eye (Sans Medication)

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ZZzzzzz

Did you know that the average person spends a third of her lifetime sleeping?

Pretty fascinating, right? Scientists think so too! In fact, many devote their life's research to the study and understanding of this mandatory routine. In simple terms, it puzzles them why sleep–or really, the lack of it–leads to exhaustion, irritation, and lethargy.

There's no arguing that a proper night's rest is vital for a productive day ahead. But, as much as you may want to try a quick, guaranteed fix of eight hours or more by popping a sleeping pill, reaching for melatonin is not always the best first option.

[divider]Here are five tricks you should try first[/divider]

Turn off the lights!

If you’re having a hard time falling asleep and staying asleep, try wearing a sleeping mask! Trust me, the silky ones are more than just a glamorous fashion statement. Should you stir ever so slightly in the middle of the night, these nifty light blockers will prevent you from fully waking up.

Not a fan of wrapping cloth over your eyes? No worries! Black out blinds are another great way to ensure a full night’s rest.

Moderate Your Caffeine Intake.

While there are indisputable benefits to caffeine–hello, productivity–a cup of coffee or black tea before bed is not always the best idea. Try to kick your late night habit by enjoying your liquid life well in the morning or early afternoon.

Work, work, work (at your desk).

Many of us are guilty of answering emails and finishing work in bed, myself included. Even though it’s super comfortable use our bedrooms as a pseudo office space, doing so can often disorient our minds and bodies. For that reason, I recommend leaving your cellphones and tablets outside when preparing for bed. Scrolling through your social media feed as you drift to sleep negatively impacts your sleep more than you think!

Exercise, just do it.

Besides the general physical and psychological benefits of exercise, breaking a sweat can also improve your sleep! People who work out tend to fall asleep faster than those who don’t. If you do high intensity exercises in the morning finish off with yoga or a couple stretches in the evening before bedtime, I guarantee a very sound sleep.

Quit napping!

Even though napping might seem ideal after a busy day at work or lazy Saturday afternoon lounging on the couch, a quick shut-eye, should you choose to take one, will actually interfere with your sleep at night. Next time you find yourself dozing off, try drinking a cold glass or water or engaging in a stimulating conversation.